Request Course Designation

“Service-Learning (SL)” is an official designation available for courses that incorporate reciprocal community engagement, student reflection, and learning objectives that link community-defined goals and course content. Use the following as a guide for integrating Service-Learning requirements as part of your course. 

Service-Learning classes typically include:

  • Community Partnership: Students engage with local community organizations on a regular basis throughout the semester. This may be regular weekly placements at the partner organization, or project-based engagement that can occur in several weeks during the semester. While there are no “minimum” hour requirements for student engagement, typically students spend between 20-40 hours per semester working directly with their community partner. 

  • Responsive Course Content: Faculty design and/or adjust course content to be responsive to community-defined goals. Activities and assignments support learning objectives that integrate the specific disciplinary subject matter with the community-based work students are engaged in. The course syllabus includes key vocabulary in the realm of equity and change through a social justice lens. 

  • Student Reflection: Students utilize structured reflections over the course of the semester to connect their experiences to course content. Students may reflect on specific experiences, issues, and ideas that have been shaped by their engagement—and/or connect their engagement experiences to text, readings or concepts from the course.

We also offer a “Community Engagement (CE)” designation. These courses incorporate occasional community partner in-class presentations and/or field trips to partner sites, but do not have the extensive engagement required of a “SL” designated course. The determination of SL or CE designation is made by the SL Course Review Committee

Both SL and CE courses are included as part of the Civic Engagement & Public Service (CEPS) certificate that is offered by CESL. The CEPS certificate is an interdisciplinary program of study that prepares students for a life of community engagement for political and social change. Read more about CEPS here.


Please fill out the SL Designation Form and attach a syllabus for your course. The SL Course Review Committee will review the application and get back to the applicant with questions, comments, and requests/suggestions for changes (if needed). If the course is approved for either SL or CE designation the applicant will be notified, and CESL works with the registrar's office to have the designation visible and searchable on SPIRE. We are developing a process for approved SL and CE courses to be reviewed and re-approved every five years. 

Please email for any additional questions or inquiries.